After an 0-6-0 start to the season and just one point in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action, the Minnesota State University Mankato women’s hockey team is back for a two-game series against the University of St. Thomas.
In a sense, St. Thomas could help the Mavericks find some life this season.
Minnesota State has had arguably the toughest beginning in all women’s hockey to their 2022-23 campaign, playing three teams that have not lost so far this season. The Mavericks pulled a three-series slate of games that included No. 4 Minnesota Duluth, No. 2 Minnesota, and No. 1 Ohio State. A group of teams who have a combined record of 16-0-0.
With six losses, the team has been struggling to find positives week in and week out but the team dynamic has still remained high.
“The dynamic has been a little down after last weekend, but we’re starting to pick it up,” Junior forward Madison Mashuga said. “We’re rallying around each other during practice and we’re really excited for this weekend.”
However, the undefeated opponent streak ends this week when the Mavericks face the Tommies in a home-and-home series. St. Thomas began itsseason against the University of Wisconsin, losing both games before splitting its next series against Franklin Pierce University.
Despite St. Thomas’ one win, the Mavericks remain ahead of the Tommies in the WCHA standings due to MSU’s overtime loss to Duluth on Oct. 7.
For Minnesota State, their winless woes have not been losses to hang their heads around. Until this past weekend’s slate against No. 2 Minnesota, the Mavericks had only lost by one goal in three of their four games.
That was mainly due to Minnesota State’s defense, which was captained by senior defenseman Anna Wilgren. However, the Mavericks will be without Wilgren for the remainder of the season due to a season-ending injury.
Wilgren missed last season due to competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic National Team and will now be sidelined until her inevitable recovery. Fortunately for the Mavericks, they do regain senior defenseman Charlotte Akervik this weekend, who competed for a spot on the U.S. Collegiate National Team this past summer.
Mashuga commented on the Mavericks’ injuries woes stating, “It was hard losing our top D, but I feel like the younger girls picked it up. We’re glad to have Charlotte back.”
As for the team’s goal this weekend, Mashuga kept it simple: “Win a game. That’s the goal, but we need to play strong defense.”
As long as the Mavericks stick to their goal, they will undoubtedly find success this weekend. Games are slated for Oct. 20 and 21, both at 6 p.m.
Header Photo: The Minnesota State University, Mankato women’s hockey team will play this Thursday at the Mayo Clinic Civic Center and on Friday in Minneapolis at St. Thomas’s both starting at 6 p.m. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu